* Baltimore Orioles CF Adam Jones holds up a picture of the Detroit Tigers three Cy Young award winners uniforms. GM Dan Duquette didn’t get the biggest prize deadline day (David Price) but he filled holes adding Andrew Miller, Alejandro De Aza and Nick Hundley. The O’s swept the Detroit Tigers, with their shaky bullpen in the best-of-five American League Division Series.
By Bob Elliott
DETROIT _ Maybe 10 years from now a wise, wizened Brad Ausmus will joke about his rookie year as manager.
Like the way Buck Showalter did Sunday when he guided his Baltimore Orioles to a sweep of the heavily-favored Detroit Tigers. After all, Showalter twice won the manager of the year honours (with the 1994 New York Yankees, 2004 Texas Rangers) yet it wasn’t until 2014, a month before he’ll likely win his third honour, that he finally won a post-season series.
Sparky Anderson, Jim Leyland or Bobby Cox could bow out in the first round and it is not so bad because they all had resumes.
That’s the concern about rookie managers — Bob Brenly of the 2001 Diamondbacks is the only fourth to ever win a World Series and the first since 1961 — they get second guessed early and often.
No one says “yeah but don’t forget what he did back in …”
That’s why a guy was calling for Ausmus to be fired Sunday night on a Detroit TV station.
Ausmus caught 18 years in the majors and was respected as one of the game’s higher intellects.
A bright man who attended Dartmouth University.
Things move a lot faster from inside the dugout. Even faster than squatting behind home plate.
“It’s one thing for (bench coach) Gene Lamont to be tell Ausums things, but during the games in Baltimore, I saw other coaches going over, whispering in his ear,” said a National League evaluating the Detroit-Baltimore series.
Who had the worse season? The Blue Jays who led by 6 1/2 games at one time and were in first place for 61 games or the Tigers who went all-out at the deadline and like the Detroit Lions offence went three and out?
“We won the division and obviously that’s a feat in itself,” Verlander said. “We wanted to win it all and felt like we had the capabilities do so, but that’s the game.
“A lot of people felt we were built to win a World Series, and so did we. But when you get to the playoffs, everybody is built to win.”
Ausmus was knocked for his handling of the bullpen:
_ Down a run in the eighth of Game 1, Max Scherzer was removed. On came Joba Chamberlain, despite second-half numbers (1-2, 4.97, 12 walks, 19 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings). The first hitter reached on an error, the next on a single. Then came Joakim Soria, who has a career 2.37 ERA pitching the ninth and a 3.61 ERA in the seventh and eighth. The Tigers chose to use him as a set-up man. Soria allowed four runs in a 1/3 of an inning. Eight runs later the O’s led the series 1-0.
Down by two in the top of the eighth, Ian Kinsler attempted a steal on his own as Torii Hunter lined into a double play. Then, Miguel Cabrera homered to pull the Tigers within a run. A veteran manager would have done the thinking for Kinsler. He would have flashed a stop sign.
_ For removing Anibal Sanchez in Game 2 after retiring six straight on 30 pitches. Ausmus said Sanchez had reached his pitch limit. The former starter had one outing (Sept. 26) after being injured against the Blue Jays on Aug. 8. Enter Chamberlain, who allowed three runs in 1/3 of an inning and then Soria blew the save.
“This one’s on me,” Chamberlain said. “For the second straight game, I didn’t do my job. Now we’re in a position where we can’t back up any further. We’re against the wall.”
_ And in Game 3? Like the rest of hitters he didn’t manage a hit from the third until the ninth against Bud Norris and reliever Andrew Miller.
Chamberlain worked two games and had a 108.00 ERA, while Soria had a 45.00 ERA. Had their been leads it would have been up to Joe Nathan (35-for-42, 83% closing out games this year).
It is the manager’s fault for continually going to relievers who can’t perform.
Not unless he doesn’t have options. General manager Dave Dombrowski did a wonderful job getting the prized possession lefty David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays at the deadline, but he didn’t get key pieces O’s GM Dan Duquette obtained: lefty Miller, outfielder Alejandro De Aza and catcher Nick Hundley. Miller pitched 3 1/3 scoreless without allowing a hit.
Tigers attempted to re-acquire Miller from the Boston at the deadline, as the Jays did, but the O’s moved Eduardo Rodriguez a double-A arm, ranked the 65th best. The Tigers dealt lefty Drew Smyly and prospect Willy Adames to Tampa Bay and Austin Jackson to the Seattle Mariners in the three-team deal to get Price. The Mariners sent Nick Franklin to the Rays.
Are Rodriguez, Adames or Smyly better than either Marcus Stroman or Daniel Norris?
Like the Atlanta Braves who seldom had a dominant closer besides Mark Wholers, the Tiger bullpen was a problem.
It compiled a 3.09 ERA, allowing four runs on nine hits and five walks in 11 1/3 innings as Detroit was swept in the 2012 World Series by the San Francisco Giants.
Then a 4.97 ERA giving up eight runs — seven earned — on 12 hits and three walks in 12 2/3 losing the ALCS to Boston.
And this year: 11 runs — 10 earned — on eight hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings for a 19.29 ERA.